White Rock captain Chris Fortems has had an exceptional October by vying for the league's scoring lead in points. | Photo: David Stevens Photography
Whalers allow 15 goals in two games
WHITE ROCK – During October and November, the Whalers have lit the goal lamp often. Now, they’ll need to consistently batten down the hatches within their own blue line.
The Pod lost back-to-back matchups against the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Nov. 26 (8-6) and Nov. 27 (7-2). The first game was a wild and woolly affair.
At home in Centennial Arena, the Whalers were down 5-2 halfway through the second period.
Then, the Wolf Pack’s Dario Zitko took a major for cross-checking and a game misconduct. White Rock’s Zac Sherwin, Kaz Yamazaki and Cole “Big Goal” Svendson all notched powerplay markers in a span of 90 seconds to tie the game at 5-5.
Whaler rookie Kieran D’Souza scored on a separate man advantage three minutes into the third period but the Pod then collapsed with eight minutes of penalties in the final seven minutes.
In total Nov. 26, the Pod went an impressive 5-for-6 on the man advantage and took 50 shots on North Van goalie Charlie Tritt. Whaler starter Evan Paul was tagged with the loss – his third of the season.
Lack of discipline
“The biggest thing we have to improve is our discipline,” Svendson said. The veteran winger noted that the Whalers were not helping their own cause with costly penalties late in the third period – a “key factor.”
Svendson has used his muscular frame of six feet four inches and 205 pounds to the Pod’s advantage this season as he leads the Pacific Junior Hockey League in goals with 25.
Sher-WIN line’s brass bonanza
Svendson’s linemates are also cashing in on the motherlode of scoring. Captain Chris Fortems remains the standard bearer for the league’s scoring race with 47 points; Zac Sherwin trains him in second spot with 45 points.
The Whalers (as of Nov. 29) have a record of 11 wins, nine losses and one shootout loss for a total of 23 points. White Rock is seeded fourth out of six teams in the Tom Shaw Conference and only one point ahead of the surging Wolf Pack.
New Whaler defenceman Dylan Travis is a "great addition" to the club, said head coach Jason Rogers.
Travis joined the Whalers a week and a half ago and drives the daily commute from Birch Bay, Wash. for practices and games. “Enjoy the drive and love hanging out with the guys,” he added.
In a game full of man advantages, Travis was blocking shots and looked dangerous all night long. White Rock head coach Jason Rogers called the “dynamite” young blueliner a “great addition.”
At press time, Nov. 14, the Whalers had a record of 10 wins, six losses and an overtime loss for 21 points – fourth place in the six-team Tom Shaw Conference. White Rock is one point behind the third-place Grandview Steelers.
Cordina in control
In the first period, Whaler Sam Cordina continued his hot streak on Nov. 12 when he displayed his hand-eye coordination. The rookie skated in close – just before he passed the goal line, Cordina kicked the puck off his skate, back to his stick and went top shelf on the far side past Jets goalie Sean Walia to tie the game at 1-1.
It was Cordina’s sixth goal in only seven games for White Rock.
The Jets spent a full two minutes on a 5-on-3 when Whaler defenceman Caleb Cruz was sent to the box for a hook, and the Pod was assessed a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Jet Zack Feaver pushed Chilliwack ahead, but the two teams kept trading goals. Travis and David Moody put the Whalers forward 3-2.
Midway through the middle frame, the Whalers had their own 5-on-3 powerplay for more than 100 seconds. Defenceman Bryce Margetson was wide open from the left face-off circle, but his one-timer was barely pushed aside by the blocker of an outstretched Walia.
The Whalers were 0-for-6 on the powerplay; the Jets went 1-for-6.
Sher-WIN line takes over
With 35 seconds left in the second period, the Whalers were given a golden opportunity: a penalty shot. But Whaler Cole “Big Goal” Svendson’s backhand deke was turned aside.
Thankfully for the Whalers, Svendson wasn’t deterred. Neither were his linemates Zac Sherwin and Chris Fortems.
In the third period, Sherwin scored and Svendson added a brace.
Altogether, the trio had an impressive night. Fortems, with four assists, retook the Pacific Junior Hockey League lead in points with 41 (as of Nov. 14). Meanwhile, Svendson is top of the league goal scoring race with 20.
POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers & Dylan Travis
"I like where we are, but there's still plenty of room for improvement," Coach Rogers pointed out after 17 games played this season.
Live Audio with Coach Rogers
"I took a chance, let it rip and there she went," Dylan Travis said about his first goal as a Whaler.